Microsoft's New Redmond Campus is powered by 100% renewable energy.

Microsoft is thriving in the cloud, with over 95% of Fortune 500 companies using Microsoft Azure products. Over 145 million daily users are tapping into Microsoft Teams, while over 250,000 organizations leverage Power Platform and Dynamics 365. Microsoft is also one of the most forward thinking companies in terms of sustainability, and with the new Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability, the company is brining partners along for the ride.

Announced at Inspire 2021 this week, Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability helps organizations measures, understands, and manage their carbon emissions. They can also give themselves sustainability goals and gain insights on the best ways to achieve them.

This is part of the growing “Microsoft Cloud for” range of vertical cloud services. It started with the launch of Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare and in January Microsoft Cloud for Retail was announced. In February, Microsoft revealed three more solutions,  Microsoft Cloud for Financial Services, Microsoft Cloud for Manufacturing, and Microsoft Cloud for Nonprofit.

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Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability is joining the growing portfolio of vertical cloud offerings as Microsoft says there is a global need to cut carbon consumption. Reflecting on the impact of climate change and the real problems we face if changes are not made, Microsoft says it is hard for organizations to properly understand their environmental impact.

“Organizations need to be able to record their environmental footprint, report to stakeholders, reduce their resource usage, remove their footprint through carbon offsets or recycling and replace highfootprint resources with low-footprint ones.”

Carbon Footprint Management

Cloud for Sustainability aims to make it easier for organizations to handle those tasks. It empowers customers to take control of their environmental projects and gain understanding of their impact. Microsoft points out the product is a first in a new category that moves beyond simply gathering data, but also helps customers to act on the information.

Actionable data comes from tools that allow users to connect to data sources and accelerate integration. Organizations can measure carbon performance, set goals, compare goals to current performance, and more.

Microsoft points to the following examples of how Cloud for Sustainability can help partners:

  • “CIOs will be able to easily report on IT carbon emissions from the cloud, devices and applications as part of their department’s environmental footprint. They will then be able to connect their emissions data sources into one view for reporting.  
  • Companies will be able to offer their customers a sustainability scorecard to track progress against their carbon emission reduction goals, inclusive of scope 1-3 emissions (i.e., emissions from a company’s owned sources, emissions from purchased energy, and all other emissions).
  • Customers will be able to pinpoint specific emission areas and track if they are meeting their emission reduction goals. For instance, if an HVAC system is not on track to meet its prescribed emissions reduction target, the task can be assigned to operations to make the necessary improvements to reach that target.”

100/100/0 Commitment

Also at Inspire, Microsoft announced a 100/100/0 commitment. This is a vision the company has had for some time that means “100 percent of electrons, 100 percent of the time, are generate from zero carbon sources.”

The company admits working towards such a vision has been complicated because its datacenters, offices, and other locations tap into the grid. In other words, it is harder to control where the energy comes from.

With its 100/100/0 commitment, Microsoft reflects on the limitations it faces. However, the company says by 2030 it will have 100 percent electricity consumption coming from zero carbon energy sources. Yes, this will mean in some cases getting off grid and purchasing energy.

Microsoft says it is well positioned to take this step. The company is already one of the largest buyers of renewable energy globally.

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